DELVILLE WOOD

LONGUEVAL - SOMME - FRANCE

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8th BLACK WATCH

WAR DIARY

July 1916

1st JULY

Battalion encamped in CELESTINE WOOD having arrived there late on the night of the 30th June. Late in the evening Battalion moved to GROVETOWN bivouac camp.

2nd-3rd JULY

Battalion remained at GROVETOWN on instant call.

4th JULY

Battalion moved to DILLON COPSE.

5th-7th JULY

Battalion remained in DILLON COPSE.

8th JULY

Battalion moved into battle line.

C Coy taking over trenches at MONTAUBAN on North & East side in relief of 11th Royal Scots.

D Coy taking over trenches on North side of BERNAFAY WOOD in relief of 12th Royal Scots.

A and B Coys and Bn HQ located in support in Train Alley Trench.

9th JULY

ditto

10th JULY

ditto

Relieved C Coy by A Coy and D COy by B Coy.

11th JULY

Relieved by 7th Seaforth Highlanders 7 p.m. Battalion went back to bivouac at CARNOY.

MONTAUBAN and BERNAFAY WOOD were shelled continuously on evening of 11th. Shelling of a most intense nature.

12th JULY

CARNOY

13th-14th JULY

CARNOY. Battalion moved to Breslau Alley Trench 7 p.m. where they remained till 11.00 p.m. at which time they filed out and eventually took up position 400 yards South of LONGUEVAL for the assault of that village on the following morning. Battalion was dispersed in eight lines, leading platoons of C and D Companies constituting the first line - C on left, D on right. A being in support of C, B of D. Battalion right of whole line - on our left in same formation came the 10th Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders.

Battalion in position by 1.45 a.m. and all lay down. Enemy shelled the ground on which we lay pretty continuously the whole time with 4.2. High explosive percussion.

Assaulted the village of LONGUEVAL at 3.25 a.m. On the South East corner of the village a strong point gave great trouble and did not fall till 5.00 p.m. With this exception all objectives alloted to the Battalion were attained by 10.00 a.m. though our objective along Buchanan Street became untenable and had to withdraw owing to the non-arrival of the Brigade attacking on left of 26th Brigade. This completely exposed my left flank.

At 12 noon the Battalion held a line with its left resting on the cross roads of the village in touch with Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders continuing to the right running North of the Church along Clarges Street to within 100 yards of its junction with South Street. We also occupied and consolidated an enemy trench running North West from the Church. The Northern end of the village remained in the hands of the enemy. During the morning we patrolled far into DELVILLE WOOD but by the afternoon these patrols met considerable opposition and eventually became standing picquet on the edge of the Wood North East of the Church and North West of the trench above mentioned.

These picquets eventually retired on the arrival of the South African Brigade. The line indicated was consolidated and eventually held by A, B and C Coys. D Coy being in support in a trench 100 yards South of the railway which passes through LONGUEVAL. Bn HQ took up a position in a house on the North Eastern corner of the Square in the centre of the village. Strong points were built in the Square and in Pall Mall where also was built a keep on the West end of the support trench. This line remained unchanged during subsequent days and was improved daily. The enemy shelled the village very heavily all the day with guns of various calibres from 5.9 downwards.

15th JULY

The South African Brigade continued their advance through DELVILLE WOOD. The enemy opened a bombardment of a very intense nature at 11 a.m. on the village which continued till 5.30 p.m. without a lull of any sort, at about which hour he launched a weak counter attack from the North West which failed.

16th JULY

The enemy shelled the village heavily and regularly but not intensively.

17th JULY

ditto

18th JULY

At 4 a.m. the 2nd Gordon Highlanders captured the Northern end of the village attacking from the West supported bu A and D Coys of the 8th Black Watch who at once consolidated a line across the Northern and with its right resting near the junction of Flers Road and Duke Street and its left just North of the road junction Picadilly and Duke Street. At the same time the whole of DELVILLE WOOD fell into our hands.

At 8.00 a.m. the enemy opened a bombardment of the greatest possible violence with every calibre of gun on LONGUEVAL village and DELVILLE WOOD which continued with unabated fury till 7 p.m. Under cover of this bombardment the enemy launched a counter attack in great strength a 3 p.m. which came from the North and North West. By this counter attack he regained DELVILLE WOOD and the greater portion of LONGUEVAL village. The strong points however held and proved of the greatest possible value. A 5 p.m. the remnants of A and D Coys of the 8th Black Watch and of various other regiments fell back on Black Watch Support Trench where they rallied.

A new line was at once thrown forward from the support trench to the railway line. This checked the enemy's further advance. A 5.30 p.m. this line on the railway was reinforced from the support line and the whole line went forward to the counter attack and drove back the enemy across Clarges Street. The line there reformed and charged over the open into DELVILLE WOOD pushing back the enemy for a considerable distance into the Wood only to be outflanked by superior numbers and again compelled to retire on the line Clarges Street and the trench to the immediate North of the Church. Here they held fast.

Another line was thrown forward from the support trench on to the line of railway to act as an immediate support. At 7 p.m. 70 men of the South African Brigade Trench Mortar Coy arrived as a support and went forward at once to the line of Clarges Street to be followed at 8 p.m. by another 50 men from the same company, taking over the line held by the Black Watch, whore remnants retired to the railway line and support line. By 8.30 p.m. the artillery fire died down considerably and no further enemy infantry advance was attempted.

19th JULY

The 19th Durham Light Infantry arrived in the small hours of the morning and took up a line in Clarges Street. At 7.30 a.m. another attack was launched by a fresh Brigade for the recapture of DELVILLE WOOD. During the morning the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders relieved the 8th Black Watch in their support line who were withdrawn to CARNOY.

Strength : 6 officers, 183 other ranks.

20th JULY

Battalion marched to Sandpit, MEAULTE, where they were joined by Depot party and draft of 1 officer and 165 other ranks.

21st-22nd JULY

Battalion in Sandpit, MEAULTE.

23rd JULY

Battalion moved to VILLERS-SOUS-AILLY by train and march route.

24th JULY

VILLERS-SOUS-AILLY

25th JULY

Battalion moved to BRUAY by train and march route.

26th JULY

BRUAY

27th JULY

BRUAY. 9 officers of Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders joined. 75 other ranks joined.

28th JULY

Battalion moved to GUOY-SERVINS.

29th-31st JULY

GUOY-SERVINS.